Recruitment & Retention

Rewards for Grades: Is it Bribery?

By Katie Ash — June 02, 2008 1 min read
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This story, written by my colleague Erik Robelen, is about a study of student reward programs conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, which found that such programs improved students’ reading scores, but had no discernible effect on math performance. One interesting thing about this study was that it grouped together different kinds of incentives--from cash and MP3 players to certificates of merit.

What I didn’t expect to see when reading the article was such a strong backlash against these initiatives in the comments. One reader wrote that educators were turning students into “trained dolphins” that would only perform when a fish was dangled in front of their faces. Other readers responded to this with thoughtful commentary on the line between motivation and bribery, how NCLB factors into the debate, and how different kids are motivated in different ways.

It makes for an interesting read about a topic that obviously touches a nerve for a lot of people. Check it out and weigh in, if you feel so inclined.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.